Op-Ed: California makes it too hard for schools to shield kids from extreme heat
A child sits next to a thermostat used to regulate temperatures at the Pacifica High School for science and technology in Pacifica, California, on Tuesday, March 3, 2017. With temperatures predicted to breach 90 degrees today, the school has decided to close its four buildings, including the principal’s office, to avoid the risk of fires when it hits the 90 degree mark on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Matt York)
We love to make it seem like California is the climate change super villain. But as it turns out, our state is actually one of the most climate-protective places in the country.
There are reasons for that. Like it or not, California has the world’s second highest percentage of people in poverty, and, by extension, the greatest number of people living beneath the poverty line. That is, roughly one out of every five residents in California lives in poverty.
The cost of housing in California is also far higher than in many other places in the country.
And, of course, California has the highest population density. That means it’s actually easier for a single person to live here than in the entire rest of the country.
But even more, California is a state that is incredibly well prepared for extreme heat in the first place.
This story is part of a new series, “America’s Climate Leaders: How our leaders are making our country cooler.” The series is produced in collaboration with the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Its goal is to highlight the work of some of America’s most well-known climate leaders, whose personal achievements, as much as their policies, have made America a better place for us all.
It is no accident that California has become the planet’s leading climate leader, by becoming a leader in the transition to a clean energy economy. The world has seen what California has done and it is only the beginning.
If California were the only state to get on board with renewable energy, we’d be a few spots behind the leaders among some countries.
But the state has a long history protecting human health as well as the environment. California was ground zero in the development of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which